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Poster: HektorT Date: Jul 22, 2010 1:30am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Another list of movies in question

Some clarification, as different people seem to take my post differently.

@elmagno: The Harvard Review, founded in 1887, is one of the most respected legal publications in the USA. Its members are selected based on excellence in legal scholarship. Former members of the Harvard Law Review include Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Roberts and President of the USA, Barack Obama.

I say evidence indicates" because I once saw a website related to video cellar that contained this information. However, I don't know anything else about him. I say "he is apparently" because when I google the name of the owner of copyrightdata.org the only match I get is an IP lawyer at a Silicon valley law firm who was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. I have no quick and easy way of knowing if it is the same person.

I wrote copyrightdata.org but it should be copyrightdata.com

So I'm just trying to state facts as facts and stuff that is not verified as something I found but have not verified.

So I have two sources of free legal advice. One comes from copyrightdata.com whose editor is apparently a practicing IP lawyer who was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. The other source is from Video Cellar a smart, knowledgeable and helpful guy who states that he is not an expert. I further added that he is a history teacher (e.g. Law is not his professional area of expertise) and that he is probably Australian (so I assume he is less familiar with American law than an American trained legal professional). Lacking other information I assume that people are most familiar with the laws of their own country. An example: Once my company was ready to sign a US distribution deal for the product of a British company. When I gave my US law firm a copy of the contract for review they said, "We can't review this because it is UK law. So we don't know what it means".

To the point:

The discrepancy I have always found between several available sources concerning copyright law on US films is for films published between 1964-1977.

http://chart.copyrightdata.com/index.php says:

Prior to 1978, accurate registration was required to secure a copyright after publication. Furthermore, filing was required to be prompt.
After 1978, timeliness was not required. From March 1989, registration is optional.

However many other sources indicate that prior to 1978 the registration was optional as well

That's what I asked my FCC lawyer friend (who is now an IP lawyer in the private sector) about because I couldn't really resolve the discrepancy.

So maybe the discrepancy comes from the fact that pre-1978 filing is optional due to a retroactive clause in the 1976 law which allowed films published after 1964 to be registered anytime during the first 28 years.

That is stated in the circ 15 link posted by Moongleam:
"In cases where no original registration or renewal registration is made before the expiration of the 28th year, important benefits can still be secured by filing a renewal registration at any time during the renewal term"

That alone means that non-registration would not make them PD (because once the go in to the Public Domain they can't come out -- unless they are GATT eligible), but it doesn't give them statutory copyright unless they are registered either. So this may be a special case. Do such films have common law copyright? That's my question.

As Video Cellar correctly points out, in the US the case law is important (it tells you what the law means). Maybe copyrightdata.com says filing is required because of some case that ruled on this, but I don't see any evidence of that.

Anyway, it's nothing to get worked up about. Most of the "law" cited above is from summaries for laymen and their are always many exceptions. Even judges frequently seem unable to find common ground concerning public domain law.

I just wrote that post because Video Cellar has become somewhat the authority on this site, but lately has not been around much to answer questions or correct misinterpretations of his posts. In that case there are higher authorities available. but hopefully Video Cellar will come around a bit more ;-) and it's good to have everything all in one thread.









This post was modified by HektorT on 2010-07-22 08:30:15

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Jul 22, 2010 11:44am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Another list of movies in question

The fact remains. In the U.S., the copyright on a film released after 1963 will not expire after 28 years, because renewal is optional.

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Poster: HektorT Date: Jul 23, 2010 1:39am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Another list of movies in question

That was not my question. But let's say it's beyond the scope of this discussion

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Poster: Detective John Carter of Mars Date: Jul 22, 2010 3:46am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Another list of movies in question

@because when I google the name of the owner of copyrightdata.org the only match I get is an IP lawyer at a Silicon valley law firm who was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. I have no quick and easy way of knowing if it is the same person.

@I wrote copyrightdata.org but it should be copyrightdata.com

http://whois.domaintools.com/copyrightdata.com

quick and easy but there are a lot of David Hayes, how did you get only 1 hit in google

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Poster: HektorT Date: Jul 22, 2010 4:06am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Another list of movies in question

"how did you get one hit in google" (I really said 'the only match i get')

q=David Hayes copyright law

results in one relevant answer

This post was modified by HektorT on 2010-07-22 11:06:12

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Poster: Detective John Carter of Mars Date: Jul 22, 2010 4:09am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Another list of movies in question

you found David L. Hayes but the site owner is David P. Hayes

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Poster: HektorT Date: Jul 22, 2010 4:46am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Another list of movies in question

Good find on your part! As I said it was a quick and easy search. Now you know why I said apparently. Precision is important! checking the address, however, since he uses a private domain registration, I'm only about 90% convinced it's not the same person.

In any event the discrepancy still stands. But since Mr. Hayes is not so esteemed as I had thought, I am more likely to consider the source of the discrepancy to be an error on the part of copyrightdata.com. I'll write copyrightdata.com sometime to see what they say and when I do I'll let you know what the answer is.



This post was modified by HektorT on 2010-07-22 11:20:42

This post was modified by HektorT on 2010-07-22 11:46:53